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AMERICAN AND BRITISH ACCOUNTS OF THE CAPTURE OF
Copy of a Letter from Lieutenant Budd to the Secretary of the
Navy, dated Sir,
Halifax, June 15, 1813. The unfortunate death of captain James Lawrence and lieutenant Augustus C. Ludlow, has rendered it my duty to inform you of the capture of the late United States frigate Chesapeake.
On Tuesday, June 1st, at eight, A. M., we unmoored ship, and at meridian got under way from President roads, with a light wind from the southward and westward, and proceeded on a cruize. A ship was then in sight in the offing which had the appearance of a ship of war, and which, from information received from pilot boats and craft, we believed to be the British frigate Shannon. We made sail in chase, and cleared ship for action. At half past four, P. M., she hove to, with her head to the southward and eastward. At five, P. M., took in the royals and top-gallant sails, and at half past five hauled the courses up.
About 15 minutes before 6, P. M., the action commenced within pistol shot. The first broadside did great execution on both sides, damaged our rigging, killed among others Mr. White the sailing master, and wounded captain Lawrence. In about twelve minutes after the commencement of the action, we fell on board of the enemy; and immediately after, one of our arm chests on the quarter-deck was blown up by a hand grenade thrown from the enemy's ship. In a few minutes one of the captain's aids came on the gun-deck to inform me that the boarders were called. I immediately called the boarders away, and proeeeded to the spar deck, where I found that the enemy had succeeded in boarding us, and had gained possession of our quarter deck.
I immediately gave orders to haul on board the fore-tack, for the purpose of shooting the ship clear of the other, and then made an attempt to regain the quarter-deck, but was wounded and thrown down on the gun deck. I again made an effort to collect the boarders, but in the mean time the enemy had gained complete possession of the ship. On my being carried down to the cockpit, I there found captain Lawrence and lieutenant Ludlow both mortally wounded; the former had been carried below previously to the ship's being boarded; the latter was wounded in attempting to re
pel the boarders. Among those who fell in the early part of the action was Mr. Edward J. Ballard, the fourth lieutenant, and lieutenant James Broom of marines.
I herein enclose to you a return of the killed and wound. ed, by which you will perceive, that every officer upon whom the charge of the ship would devolve was either killed or wounded previously to her capture. The enemy report the loss of Mr. Wait, their first lieutenant; the purser; the captain's clerk, and 23 seamen killed; and captain Broke, a midshipman, and 56 seamen wounded.
The Shannon had, in addition to her full complement, an officer and 16 men belonging to the Belle Poule, and a part of the crew belonging to the Tenedos. I have the honour to be, with very great respect, &c.
GEORGE BUDD. The Hon. William Jones, Secretary of the Navy, Washington.
[Here follow the lists of the killed and wounded; killed 48, wounded 98, of whom 13 are since dead.]
Admiralty Office, July 10. Copy of a Letter from the Honourable Captain Capel, of His
Majesty's Ship La Hogue, to John Wilson Croker, Esq.
Halifax, June 11, 1813. It is with the greatest pleasure I transmit you a letter I have just received from captain Broke, of his majesty's ship Shannon, detailing a most brilliant achievement in the capture of the United States frigate Chesapeake, in 15 minutes. Captain Broke relates so fully the particulars of this gallant affair, that I feel it unnecessary to add much to his parrative: but I cannot forbear expressing the pleasure I feel in bearing testimony to the indefatigable exertions and perse. vering zeal of captain Broke during the time he has been under my orders; placing a firm reliance on the valour of his officers and crew, and a just confidence in his system
of discipline, he sought every opportunity of meeting the enemy on fair terms; and I have to rejoice with his country and his friends, at the glorious result of this contest; he gallantly headed his boarders in the assault, and carried all before him. His wounds are severe, but I trust his country will not be long deprived of his services. I have the honour to be, &c.
THOMAS BLADEN CAPEL,
Captain and Senior Officer, Halifax.
Shannon, Halifax, June 6, 1813. I have the honour to inform you, that being close in with Boston Light House, in his majesty's ship under my command, on the 1st instant, I had the pleasure of seeing that the United States frigate Chesapeake, which we had long been watching, was coming out of the harbour to engage the Shannon. I took a position between capes Ann and Cod, and then hove to for him to join us. The enemy came down in a very handsome manner, having three ensigns flying. When closing with us he sent down his royal yards. I kept the Shannon's up, expecting the breeze would die away. At half past 5, P. M., the enemy hauled up within hail of us on the starboard side, and the battle began, both ships steering full under the top-sails; after exchanging between two and three broadsides, the enemy's ship fell on board of us, her mizen channels locking in with our fore rigging. I went forward to ascertain her position, and observing that the enemy were flinching from their guns, I gave orders to prepare for boarding. Our gallant band appointed to that service, immediately rushed in under their respective officers upon the enemy's decks, driving every thing before them with irresistible fury. The enemy made a desperate but disorderly resistance. The firing continued at all the gangways and beween the tops, but in two minutes' time the enemy were driven sword in hand from every post. The American flag was hauled down, and the proud old British Union floated * triumphant over it. In another minute they ceased firing from below, and called for quarter. The whole of this service was achieved in 15 minutes from the commencement of the action.
I have to lament the loss of many of my gallant ship-matės, but they fell exulting in their conquest.
My brave first lieutenant Mr. Watt, was slain in the moment of victory, in the act of hoisting the British colours. His death is a severe loss to the service. Mr. Aldham, the purser, who had spiritedly volunteered the charge of a party of small arm men, was killed at his post on the gangway. My faithful old clerk, Mr. Dunn, was shot by his side. Mr. Aldham has left a widow to lament his loss. I commander in chief will recommend her to the protection of my lords commissioners of the admiralty. My veteran boatswain, Mr. Stephens, has lost an arm. He fought under Lord Rodney on the 12th of April. I trust his age
and services will be duly rewarded.
I am happy to say that Mr. Samwell, a midshipman of
much merit, is the only other officer wounded beside myself, and he not dangerously. Of my gallant seamen and marines we had twenty-three slain and fifty-six wounded. No expressions I can make use of can do justice to the merits of my valiant officers and crew; the calm courage they displayed during the cannonade, and the tremendous precision of their fire could only be equalled by the ardour with which they rushed to the assault. I recommend them all warmly to the protection of the commander in chief. Having received a severe sabre wound at the first onset, whilst charging a part of the enemy who had rallied on their forecastle, I was only capable of giving command till assured our conquest was complete, and then directing second lieutenant Wallis to take charge of the Shannon, and secure the prisoners. I left the third lieutenant Mr. Falkiner (who headed the main-deck boarders), in charge of the prize. I beg to recommend these officers most strongly to the commander in chief's patronage, for the gallantry they displayed during the action, and the skill and judgment they evinced in the anxious duties which afterwards devolved
them. To Mr. Etouch, the acting master, I am much indebted, for the steadiness with which he carried the ship into action. The lieutenants Johns and Law, of the marines, bravely boarded at the head of their respective divisions. It is im
possible to particularize every brilliant deed performed by * my officers and men; but I must mention, when the ships'
yard-arms were locked together, that Mr. Cosnahan, who commanded in our main-top, finding himself screened from the enemy by the foot of the top-sail, laid out at the mainyard arm to fire upon them, and shot three men in that situation. Mr. Smith, who commanded in our fore-top, stormed the enemy's fore-top from the fore-yard-arm, and destroyed all the Americans remaining in it. I particularly beg leave to recommend Mr. Etouch, the acting master, and Messrs. Smith, Leake, Clavering, Raymond, and Littlejohn, midshipmen. This latter officer is the son of captain Littlejohn, who was slain in the Berwick. The loss of the enemy was about 70 killed and 100 wounded. Among the former were the four lieutenants, a lieutenant of marines, the master, and many other officers---captain Lawrence is since dead of his wounds.
The enemy came into action with a complement of four hundred and forty men, the Shannon having picked up some re-captured seamen, had three hundred and thirty. The Chesapeake is a fine frigate, and mounts forty-nine guns, eighteens on her main-deck, two-and-thirties on her quarterdeck and fore-castle. Both ships came out of action in the most beautiful order, their rigging appearing as perfect as if they had only been exchanging a salute. I have the honour to be, &c. (Signed)
P. B. V. BROKE. To Captuin, the Hon. T. Bladen Capel, &c. Halifax.
CAPTURE OF THE FLY.
Copy of a Letter from Captain Blakely, forwarded by Captain
Hull to the Navy Department.
United States Brig Enterprize, Sir,
Portsmouth, N. H. 20th Aug. 1813. I have the honour to report to you the capture of the British privateer schooner the Fly. She was captured yesterday afternoon off cape Porpoise, after a chase of eight hours. Very respectfully, &c. (Signed)
J. BLAKELEY. Isaac Hull, Esq. commanding United States Naval
Forces on the Eastern Station, Portsmouth,
CAPTURE OF THE DOMINICO. Extract of a Letter from Captain John H. Dent, commanding
Naval Officer at Charleston, South Carolina, dated Sir,
August 21, 1813. I have the honour to inform you that the privateer schooner Decatur, of this port, arrived here yesterday, with his Britannic majesty's schooner Dominico, her prize. She was captured on the 5th instant, after a most gallant and desperate action of one hour, and carried by boarding, having all her officers killed or wounded, except one midshipman. The Dominico mounts 15 guns, one a 32-pounder on a pivot, and had a complement of 83 men at the commencement of the action, sixty of whom were killed or wounded. She was one of the best equipped and manned vessels of her class I have ever seen. The Decatur mounts seven guns, and had a complement of 103 men at the commencement of the action, 19 of whom were killed and wounded. I have the honour to be, with great respect, your most
JOHN H. DENT. Hon. Wm. Fones, Secretary of the Navy.